Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Ellie!!

Just a few hours after my last post Lindsay's contractions really picked up! Lindsay called me at 1:30 am. Kory and I met Lin and Tim at the hospital at 2:20. She got settled into her room about 3:30...which, by the way was the same labor room that Avery and Reese were born in! Neat, huh? Lindsay was a rock star! She was totally in the zone. :) She went from 6cm to 10cm in about 3 hours. She pushed about 20 minutes. (All with NO interventions or medications! So proud of her!)
Here is the breakdown...

Ellie Payton
Born May 31 at 5:50 am
8 lbs 3 oz
21.5 inches long

I really want to share some pictures because she is ADORABLE and PERFECT in every way! But, I told Lin that I would wait until after she posted some first on facebook. :) I am not sure she has had the chance to do that yet. So, check back tomorrow. I promise to post a picture of my cute little niece.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Baby Ellie

I bet you thought I was going to post a picture of my new little niece....I WISH! (Lindsay does too.) Lindsay's due date has come and gone. It was Friday. She is uncomfortable and absolutely ready for Ellie to be born. Please send up some prayers for her.

** That her contractions would be working hard towards the goal. :)

** For a safe delivery.

** For Reese...I think she senses something is up and is giving Lin some fits!

I promise that next time you see "Baby Ellie" in the title, it will be her introduction to the world.


Friday, May 28, 2010

One Year Ago...

One year ago we saw Dawit's sweet little face for the first time!

We were so excited to finally see our son....if only in a picture. Having a face and name only made the waiting harder. But, oh! Was it worth it! My how things change in a year. We are now a family of FIVE. I have a SON. Dawit has gone from FIVE POUNDS to TWENTY TWO POUNDS! Yes, you read that right, 22. :)

It's crazy, but that day we fell in love with this little baby that we saw in this blurry photo who lived across an ocean!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Child Locks...who needs them?

So, Dawit's new favorite thing to do while I am cooking or doing the dishes is to play in the pots and pans cabinet. What baby doesn't like to pull all those fun things out? Well, I decided that I was going to put child locks on them...again. I had them on before when the girls were small, but we took them off and lost them. :) Anyway, I got the locks and put them on. Then I walked around the island in the kitchen to find this...

I still don't know how the little stinker got it off. I can't even get it off! Where there's a will, there's a way.

My Baby is Growing Up

Today was Gracie's last day of preschool. I can't believe she will be heading to kindergarten next year! I remember James and I walking her to class on her first day. She has done really well the last few years. She has learned a lot and I think she is going to do great in kindergarten! Last week was her preschool graduation. They sang songs and each child was presented with their diploma. :)

Of course, Gracie was hamming it up! She was so excited!

She made lots of good friends that I know she will miss!

Over the years, Gracie had the best teachers!

After her graduation, Lin, Reese, and Sis went with us to lunch to celebrate at the Queen of Sheba. It was such a fun day! I still can't believe she is going to school next year!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Recently I was doing the dishes and the kids were playing in the living room. Dawit had crawled into the kitchen and was playing with a toy. All of the sudden I heard a noise that sounded like LOTS of things hitting our hardwood floor. I turned around to find Dawit with an opened box (the big one) of NERDS. The more that fell out and hit the floor, the more he laughed and threw his hands up with excitement....which caused more NERDS to spill since the box was still in his hand. I had to laugh, then ran to get my camera!

Lesson Learned: Keep the pantry door closed!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Today was a great day. We got to spend time with our moms, grandmothers, and other special women in our lives! I have been blessed with some wonderful role models.
I am also blessed to be the mom of three sweet kiddos! I love them all so much!

Mom's side of the family. Look at all those girls! Poor Dawit. :)

Dad, Gramps, Granny, and our crew.

Me, Mom, and Lindsay

Gracie made me a really sweet card and some crafts at school. The little purple flower is a recipe holder. :)

As I celebrate my mom today, I have also been thinking about Dawit's birth mom. I cried thinking about how she must be feeling today. My heart hurts for her and all that she has gone through. I am sitting here trying to put it into words....I can't find them.

Today in church we talked about Proverbs 31. My prayer is that I would be that woman .
Proverbs 31: 10-31
10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life....

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks....

20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy....

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land....

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ethiopia Trip: Homeward Bound (pt.2)

Wednesday, January 20

Finally we landed in Washington! Oh, that flight was SO long! I was more than happy to get off that plane! James and I already had our plan of attack....I would quickly get up and grab the bag above my head then take the baby. Next, he would jump up and get the bag from the other side of the isle. We were close to the door, so then we could make a fast exit. :) Did I mention I was ready to get off that plane??

Once we exited the plane we had to fill out some paperwork for Dawit before we could get in line. We waited in that line for a while. Dawit flirted with the lady behind us to pass the time. We had heard stories about the people working in these lines, but thankfully the gentleman who filed our paperwork was nice. Once that was done, we were off to get our luggage. At this point, I had not put Dawit in the sling. He was getting really heavy! We got our luggage and went through customs. No problems. After we rechecked our bags I was off to find a restroom. I couldn't wait to brush my teeth. :) We had to take a little tram to another section of the airport. All this time, we were thinking about that big mac. Unfortunately, there was no Mc Donald's in the area. Plus it was around 10:00 am by this time. James found a little deli and told her we had been on a long flight and just wanted a burger. She made us one! How nice! In the conversation that followed, James found out that she was from Ethiopia!

Once we got our breakfast of burgers and fries we called Gracie at preschool. Her teacher answered and asked a ton of questions. They were so excited that we were home and Dawit was doing good. When Gracie got on the phone she sounded so sweet. We talked to her for a few minutes and told her we would see her soon at the airport. She was excited to tell me that NeNe was taking them to Mc D's before the airport! We made some other calls to our moms, dad, lin, and Susan. It was so good to hear those familiar voices!

Dawit did great in the airport. It was funny, before we left a girl walked over to say goodbye. She and a few friends had been on our Ethiopia flight. They had seen Dawit and waved. Then we rode the tram together. She just wanted to say goodbye and good luck. How sweet. (even though she said her friends were making fun of her for telling us bye!)

From Washington we headed to Chicago and had more time to waste. Dawit was a trooper. He was doing great. Several people who were sitting by us asked about Dawit. It was good to share a little about Ethiopia and his adoption. I walked to the bathroom as our flight time got closer. I had shirts made for the kids. Each had Africa with a little heart over Ethiopia and their name with big sis/ little bro on it. I wanted to wait until the last possible minute to put it on, especially with the puking and pooping little man was doing. Guess what? As soon as I put it on him and sat him up...he spit up all over it. (to this day, it still has a stain)

Once on this flight, Dawit decided to have a melt down. I think his ears were popping or something because he was fine one second and screaming bloody murder the next. I couldn't calm him down and felt like everyone was getting aggravated. Finally he calmed down.

I got excited when I knew we were flying over the Ville. It felt soooo good to land in Louisville. I wanted to just RUN full speed down the concourse! Then, I thought better of it. I knew Dawit needed a diaper! I am sure our family and friends were wondering where we were.

The walk seemed so long! Finally we could make out a group of people. We heard lots of clapping and screams. As we walked closer, some of the airport workers commented, "That must be one special baby" and "You guys are popular." We saw our family and then had to walk around a corner to actually get to them. This is what we saw as we turned the corner...

When we came around the corner the girls ran to us. What a feeling! Our family was finally together!

The girls were so excited to see their brother. Both of them wanted to give him his bottle, which no had nothing in it!

There were so many people there to welcome us home. It really did take my breath away! I knew that I loved this little boy who I had never met until last week. It was amazing to see everyone else who did too. My mom and dad couldn't believe all the people that came out. The took a count and told me there was about 75 people there! I have even heard stories about people stopping and asking questions about what was going on. My mother in law said that one woman even got out her camera and took pictures! (kinda weird...I know)

Our friend Aaron took some great pictures for us. Here are a few of my favorites....
The girls waiting for us to arrive.

Love this one of Avery.

Daddy's Girl

Our welcome home was amazing! Dawit did great in all the excitement. He was all smiles. After we introduced everyone to the newest Armstrong, we made our way home. Dad drove us and the kids home in the van (we were tired with a capital T) while Lindsay stopped to get us some dinner. We walked into a clean house courtesy of Lindsay and Kory. They even decorated with balloons and banners. James and I were ready to plop down, but the girls were ready for their gifts. We made the mistake of telling them that we got them some things and they wanted! We unpacked them while trying to eat some dinner. Mom, Dad, and Lin got to see Dawit a little more.
Dawit with Aunt Linny. (poor thing, look at his pants. They were way too big and falling off)

Look at Avery's face. Is she excited about her baby brother, or what??

They stayed to visit for a few more minutes. Once everyone left, we got all the kiddos ready for bed. We were SO thankful that everyone went to bed good. No screaming to stay up. I couldn't believe it when we layed down at 9:00! My bed never felt so good. The girls slept good that night. Dawit woke up around midnight, then again at 4:00. (For the next week he woke up at 4:00 and was awake and ready to play!)

We were so glad to home with ALL our family. Thanks to everyone who was there to welcome us home. You helped make the day even more special.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Ethiopia Trip: Homeward Bound (pt. 1)

Tuesday, January 19

Thankfully this morning we didn't have to get up and rush out. We woke up and went downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast we headed back upstairs to finish packing. I started this task on Monday. Most of it was finished, but I kept going back over to make sure that we had everything we needed for Dawit on the carry on bags. I was terrified that we would run out of formula on the almost 30 hour flight home...or diapers....or what if he poops or pukes on his outfit? How many outfits should I take?? See why I kept going over things? :)

Yesterday I sent some things down to be washed. This was a great service that we used many times during our trip. I had taken a few short sleeve shirts and the rest were long sleeves. We had been told it was cool. I went through the short sleeve shirts quickly. The sun was hot! So, I had to have them washed and wear them again. Anyway, every other day the laundry came back quickly. Not today...of course! We didn't get it back until early afternoon. (so, tip for future travelers: take short sleeves and use the laundry service. They did a good job.)

Dawit got some good naps in today. Wish I did. I was anxious about the trip home and couldn't sit still. The day was just creeping by. Our flight was to leave Addis at about 10:30 pm, and they say to arrive at the airport 4 hours early especially if you want to reserve a bassinet. So by 4:00, we couldn't stand it any longer. We got to the airport at around 5:00. They told us the line opened at 6:00. We found a spot to sit until then. People started to come into the airport a short time after that. We got many stares from every one. I think it was a combination of the fact that we were white and adopting an Ethiopian child, and that he had a cleft lip. I am telling you, it was crazy how they responded to that. They had really never seen it before. About 7:00 the line opened for our'd think I would be used to Ethiopian time by now. :) Of course, now it was time for Dawit's bottle. I didn't bring any water with me since we couldn't take it in. We planned on just buying some once we got through the gates. (I didn't think it would take us this long and wasn't prepared.) So, while we are standing in line, Dawit started screaming. JOY! James left the line to get a water. In the meantime, the nice Ethiopian lady behind me kept staring. She asked, "Is he hungry?" I politely said yes and tried to explain that my husband was getting some water for his formula. OH MY. I was starting to sweat and could feel my face getting red.

After waiting in line for what seemed like an eternity, we finally got our boarding passes. Then we had to fill out some more paperwork and stand in another line. Once upstairs we looked for a place to eat. We really loved the food in Ethiopia, but by now we both were craving a hamburger. I thought we would have to wait until we were in the states, but we found a restaurant that had hamburgers!! We were really excited....and then let down. Not what I had in mind. The burger had BerBer in it, like everything else! I ate my fries and enjoyed my last Coca Cola in a bottle.

We walked around for a bit. There are lots of little stores. We did a little shopping. I got a cute purse and a few other gifts. By now, I was really ready to board the plane!! Finally they called our flight. It wasn't time to leave, they just called us to stand in a new, very long line. Of course, we were no where close to the beginning of the line. One worker saw a woman ahead of us with a small child. He told her she could go to the front of the line. I looked at him, hoping he would tell us the same thing. YES! Once we passed through the door and were on the other side of the glass wall, we had to go through another metal detector. As I was holding the baby, I had to take off all my jewelry, shoes, jacket, etc. A lady wanded me...she even made me take my chap stick out of my pocket. James went through and the wand found the metal on his money belt. He kept trying to explain what it was and he showed the airport worker. It was funny though, because the worker kept running the wand over know what it is already!!! Once through this hurdle, one more! We had to show our tickets and passport again. Ahhhh! Another seat for my tired butt and more waiting.

Even though our flight was to leave about 10:30, 11:20 rolled around and there we sat. Still in the airport. Dawit had another bottle and was asleep by now. I was going over all the formula in my head. Did I bring enough? Too late now!

Oh what a sweet sound when they said, "All passengers with young children may now board!" We quickly found our seats. Middle isle. One seat in between us, hoping no one would sit there. Not a chance. An older woman sat there. She had her hair pulled back and a wrap over it. James moved over and sat in the middle. After take off, they brought us a bassinet. I was able to lay Dawit in it and he slept for a few hours. James and I were able to sleep a bit too. Once Dawit woke up, I knew he needed a diaper. All week he had been having belly/diaper issues and I was dreading this on the plane. Sure enough..leakage. AUGH! So I went back to the bathroom with a diaper, wipes, new outfit, and baby. Guess what? A LINE! It was obvious that he needed to be changed. So much so that the stewardess gave me a bag to put the diaper in. :) I bet I waited 15 minutes in that line! Changing his diaper in that tiny restroom was an adventure. Enough said.

By the time I got back to the seat I was GRUMPY! This is where my memory of the flight home gets a little fuzzy. (I didn't journal about this during the time like I did all the other days.) I remember lots of funny things that happened. Funny now...NOT funny then.

- I remember getting mad at James because he wouldn't take Dawit to the bathroom and change him. This was mean, I know. And it made no sense. He could barley move with the bassinet over his legs, better yet get out of his seat. But whatever, it was his turn. :)

- A few more blowouts

- Airplane food that I couldn't even eat anymore. I just left it. Try holding a baby with a meal on your lap tray. It took forever for them to take it back.

- Speaking of meals, James didn't eat anything either. During mealtime, the woman next to James kept sticking out her elbow while she ate. It was way into James' space. I couldn't stop laughing! (that's how bad it was!) Now James was GRUMPY! and I was the only one laughing!

- Speaking of the lady..I told you about her hair that was wrapped up. Well, she had long hair which equals a slightly tall wrap. She kept falling asleep, again in James' space. Her head would nod to the side and she would hit James in the head with her wrap. More of me laughing, not James. We did finally switch seats. I felt sorry for him.

- Dawit had a screaming fit. He was tired and couldn't get back to a good sleep. I couldn't settle him down easily. So, everyone was staring. I tried feeding him, standing and bouncing him, nothing worked. Did I mention we were the seats behind first class? They were staring too. Sorry! (and man did it stink looking into first class the entire flight home!)

- I remember I kept looking at the screen that shows how many miles until your destination. We were getting closer, but it felt like it was counting down the miles so slow!

I was SO happy to be off that plane!

more to come....

Saturday, May 1, 2010


On Friday afternoon I drove the girls out to the country for a sleepover with a few of their cousins. My Aunt Kathy and Uncle Alan told them a few weeks ago that they would have them over. I think every day since Gracie has asked, "Is tonight my sleepover?" or "Can we go ahead and pack?" They were SO excited! Thankfully they took pictures of all the fun.

They had popsicles. YUM

Snack Break. You need these while playing as hard as they did!

They danced.

** Story about this picture to follow**

They found a VERY long snake skin. Glad they didn't find the snake this belonged to!

They got to have a water gun fight. Which, I heard was lots of fun. Uncle Alan didn't play fair...he got the hose! :)

No, we don't let Gracie watch Charlie's Angels. Where does she come up with that???

Could they be having more fun? I don't think so!

After some 4 wheeler rides, it was time for a bath, then dinner.
Yes, that is 3 ears of corn on Avery's plate.

After a long, fun filled afternoon, I'd say they look pretty tired. The surprising thing? The two youngest stayed up until almost 11:00 talking to each other. Wish I could have heard that conversation! :)

So, about this picture...

Tara called tonight and asked if I heard what Gracie said to Uncle Alan. I was scared to hear her finish this story. Anyway, Gracie got up this morning and asked Alan if they said bad words at his house. He (probably laughing) said "No". Gracie told him, "Yes you do. You say bootie" (I guess someone said "Shake your bootie" while they were taking the picture) She went on to tell him that I said bootie was a bad word. :) But, then she asked if she could just say it there! :)

One day she came home from school and was singing "Shake your bootie. Shake your bootie" I told her that wasn't nice and she couldn't say it. (I know, I promise...she goes to a nice catholic preschool!) I guess tomorrow I will explain things a little better. I don't want her going around telling the family that Uncle Alan says bad words! :)

I know they had a great time! The girls are already talking about going back. Thanks Aunt Kathy and Uncle Alan!